After only 3 days, we finally come to our last day in New Orleans. Actually, most of this day will be spent driving, so we’ve only got a few hours in the morning for some last minute exploration. We haven’t even been near the Garden District yet, so we decide to start there.
The New Orleans Garden District
The Garden District, (at least early on a Saturday morning) seems more low key than what we’ve grown used to. We certainly more houses than clubs or bars, and it’s clear these homes have been here for quite some time. We finally see one of the famous New Orleans street cars along the way, a site that I had expected much more frequently. But other than that, it’s definitely more chill for now.
Of course, it’s still worth a visit. Unlike the other districts we visited, the buildings here are actually independent structures. Homes have lawns, which likely influences the name. There simply isn’t as much crammed in here. The Garden District definitely offers a charm of its own.
While there, we happened to come across Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Unlike the last, this one is open to the public without a tour guide (though tours are optional). Based on what we learned during our tour at the last cemetery, this one is a little creepy.
We had previously been told that shelves are used to store corpses until they become dust, at which time they would be brushed back so that new relatives could be added. In this graveyard, we actually see a few tombs with their front panels missing – revealing the shelves within. Thankfully, we did not see any traces of ashes (not that we put much effort into looking).
We also find a few tombs with over a century’s worth of relatives inside. It’s hard to imagine opening and resealing these tombs for over 100 years. Of course, it’s not like people were buried in each frequently. But still, that’s a lot of human remains to be pushed back. Fortunately, these tombs were not among the ones missing their front panels.
Driving Across Lake Pontchartrain to Send off our Last Day in New Orleans
After exploring the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery, there’s one more adventure for our last day in New Orleans: the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Easily the largest lake I’ve ever seen in person (so far), Pontchartrain stretches 24 miles. It may not be in the same league as the Great Lakes, but it’s still pretty massive. And there’s a bridge that travels straight across its diameter.
Driving across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is definitely an interesting experience. I’ve seen bridges before that stretch across segments of the ocean and have often wondered what it would be like to drive across them. Rumor has it that this lake achieves the same effect; a point where there’s no sign of land. Where you’re just completely surrounded by water as far as the eye can see. Granted, it doesn’t quite get that dramatic. We could always see some semblance of land, though it was pretty faint for a while.
The bridges are fairly high, and there are only two lanes in each direction. Which is great when you have a driver in each who’s either too nervous or focused on the lake to pay attention to the speed limit (which remains 55 throughout). I’ve also been told that sharks sometimes make their way into the lake, though we unfortunately didn’t see any.
So Long, Crescent City
Crossing the lake didn’t actually take as long as I thought it would. In fact, by the end, I find myself wishing that I could cross it with my kayak (aside from the threat of sharks). There’s a weather station towards the middle, but besides that and the water, there isn’t much else to see. By the time we reach the other side, we’re in a small town that’s definitely a change in pace from New Orleans. It sets the tone for the remainder of our trip back, as there’s no place quite like the Crescent City. I have to admit, even at the end of our last day in New Orleans, it certainly felt like a more more than 4 days.